Freezer Friendly

freezer quesadillas

Freezer Quesadillas

The lack of organized photos in this post is a good indication of life right now: busy. We have six weekends between now and when baby Pea #2 is due, and four of those are booked. I’m trying to stay on top of posting, but heads up there will be some weeks I won’t have a post. Please bear with me!

freezer quesadillas

If you’re my husband, mom, dad or sister, then I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, so no need to continue reading. If you’ve been reading this blog for the last few weeks, I may be getting there for you, but today we’re back on the meal-prepping-for-baby train. If I’m being completely transparent, these posts are almost more for me than for you. If we decide to go for #3 down the road, I want to be able to look back at how I prepared for #2.

freezer quesadillas

Anyone that’s done the new baby thing will probably be able to relate, if not let me paint you a picture…

You have a newborn, and your husband has gone back to work, so it’s just you and bebe. Bebe insists on being held during waking hours unless you’re good with constant (ummm, LOUD) crying <– not an exaggeration. The clock strikes three in the afternoon and you suddenly realize you haven’t eaten a single thing all day. Leftovers from last night’s dinner are tonight’s dinner (and it would also require you to put the baby down – see above), so you reach for a tortilla and shredded cheese and nuke it for 30 seconds. It’s one of the few things you’ve found that only take one hand to both prepare and eat. You know you need more, but you’re just too wiped out to make it happen.

freezer quesadillas

Enter these pre-made freezer quesadillas. Stuffed with protein-y chicken and black beans, and ready to eat (one-handed for the love) straight from the freezer in less than three minutes.

Now, I know these aren’t exactly healthy, and my goal is to keep up with the veggie prep once baby Pea #2 arrives, but for me the first several weeks are all about survival. Last time I was totally unprepared for a baby that constantly needed holding. I mean, any moms that have babies that can happily lay in a floor gym or swing for any amount of time should take a moment right now to send up praise hands because having a baby that will not do that makes it that much more physically/mentally/emotionally hard. I loved my time at home with Anna Ruth, but I was just a mess, and I largely attribute that to trying to establish a milk supply while not keeping myself nourished. Sure the hormones played a part, but the physical parts of breastfeeding and not eating had the bigger impact. Knowing what I do now it won’t matter if #2 is also a stage-five clinger. Having simple things like freezer quesadillas ready to go will mean I can better take care of myself before hitting that wall of physical exhaustion in the afternoons from forgetting to eat.

freezer quesadillas

As you can tell by the pictures, I had two little helpers making these freezer quesadillas over the weekend. Anna Ruth and Abigail love helping in the kitchen, so I promote that any chance I can. These quesadillas are perfect for little helpers. There are no exact measurements, so you really just have to supervise to make sure they’re not using too much or too little of any one ingredient.

freezer quesadillas

The recipe here doesn’t include exact measurements because it is all to taste and preference. I used a chicken that I roasted earlier in the day, and large tortillas. You can easily use shredded rotisserie chicken, different cheese and beans and any size tortilla you prefer. This particular batch was one chicken, 2.5 bags of shredded cheese and one can of beans. We made 16 quesadillas, but ran out of black beans after about 12.

Freezer Quesadillas

Ingredients:

1 roasted chicken – shredded (rotisserie chicken works as well)
Shredded cheddar (or other cheese of choice)
Canned black beans – drained and rinsed
Tortillas – any size

Directions:

  1. Preheat a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Prepare tortillas with desired amount of chicken, cheese and black beans.
  3. If freezing*: heat quesadillas on each side just until the cheese melts.
  4. Allow the quesadillas to cool completely, then wrap individually in plastic wrap and then place into a zippered freezer bag.
  5. To reheat
    • In the microwave: remove plastic wrap, wrap in a paper towel and heat for 1.5-2 minutes.
    • In the oven: remove plastic wrap, wrap in foil and cook at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.
    • On the stovetop: allow to thaw completely in the fridge, then heat in a skillet as you normally would.
  6. Enjoy!

*If eating right away, simply cook as you normally would and serve hot.

roast chicken

Roast Chicken – Two Ways

Thighs and drumsticks and breasts, oh my! We’re getting into one of my ultimate weekend prep loves: roast chicken. A single chicken cooked on Sunday afternoon easily feeds my family for three dinners and generally 1-2 lunches for Andy…and all for around $7.

roast chicken

When it comes to whole chickens, where are you? Do you get excited like late-20s/early-30s me with the knowledge that one little bird goes so far with so little work? Or are you like early-20s me, and the thought of cooking a whole animal seems very overwhelming? The truth is, it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve embraced the whole chicken, and I’m so glad I did because the time and money money money it saves is right up my alley. Here’s how we generally break this down, so that we get three meals (there are dozens of other ways we use it, but here’s last week’s use):

Night one: eat the dark meat as is with sides of potatoes and kale
Night two: shred or chop one chicken breast for quesadillas (enough for a lunch ‘dilla, as well)
Night three: shred or chop the other chicken breast to put over salad

The chicken is good for several days, so we don’t eat it in three consecutive nights…meaning we don’t get tired of it.

roast chicken

Oh – and the flavor! I’m on paragraph three, and haven’t even discussed the best part. Roasting a whole chicken is hands down the way to get the juiciest chicken ever. Even the breast meat <– and that’s saying a lot. So many people are just ho hum about chicken, but it’s because they’ve only had ho hum chicken. Roasting it locks in the flavors, and is anything but boring.

roast chicken

The most versatile way for roast chicken that you’re using in other recipes is to simply stuff the cavity with celery. The chicken does not come out tasting like celery, but the celery provides plenty of moisture to keep it nice and juicy. The other way I do roast chicken is by stuffing it with lemon, garlic and rosemary. This preparation is better IMO if you’re eating it as chicken and not part of another dish. The flavors infuse so beautifully, and the pan juices can be used to make a delicious lemon sauce.

roast chicken

So, obv, the pictures in this post show how I roast chicken two ways, so the pan was pretty full.  If I’m only roasting one chicken, I’ll generally throw in diced potatoes to cook with it, and have a nearly one-pan dinner situation. If you want to go that route, the chicken prep/cook time is no different, but you just arrange the diced potatoes around the bird and drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I don’t usually roast two at a time, but am starting to do that more now that I’m stocking our freezer for once the new baby is here. Y’all. Roast chicken freezes beautifully and is just as juicy and delicious as fresh out of the oven. To freeze, I just roast the chicken and then carve it into the servings I would use throughout the week (leg/thigh combos and individual breasts). I put them into freezer bags and into the freezer once they’re totally cool. The key for using after frozen is to let them thaw in the fridge for 1-2 days before using them.

roast chicken

As far as roasting pans go, you don’t need an “official” one to do this because we don’t use the rack in this preparation. Just an oven-safe pan with high sides is fine (though if you use a cast iron dutch oven the cooking time may vary because the pan would cook from the sides as well). We got this one as a wedding gift from one of my favorite families on Andy’s side, and use it at least once a week for things other than just chicken. If you want one, I would definitely suggest it.

roast chicken

The recipe below is for ONE chicken, so make sure to double it if you want to roast two at once**. I’m giving the ingredients for the lemon/garlic/rosemary preparation because the amounts of those are more specific, but if you want to go the celery route, just replace those items with celery pieces (about 4 stalks should do the trick). Do you have other combos you use for your roast chicken? I’d love to hear them!

Roast Chicken – Two Ways

Ingredients:

4-5 lb whole chicken
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter – melted
Salt and pepper
1 lemon* – cut in half
1 head of garlic* – cut in half
8-10 sprigs of rosemary*

Directions:

  1. Remove chicken from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before putting it in the oven.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Dry the chicken with paper towels, and remove the giblets and neck.
  4. Season the inside of the cavity with plenty of salt and pepper (about ¼-1/2 tsp, but you really can’t use too much here).
  5. Stuff the cavity with the lemon, garlic and rosemary* – gently squeeze juice from one half of the lemon just a little bit.
  6. Place the chicken breast side up and season with more salt and pepper – just eyeball it, but I’d say about ¼ tsp.
  7. Brush the chicken with half of the melted butter, and tie the two legs together.
  8. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, then brush on the other half of the butter.
  9. Continue roasting until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees – about 45 more minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes before carving.
  11. Enjoy!

*Replace these ingredients with celery stalks if you want to use the chicken for other preparations that don’t necessarily work well with this flavor combo (think tex-mex).

**If you roast two chickens at a time, you may need to up the cook time by about 10-20 minutes. Just start checking the internal temp after it’s been cooking for a total of an hour and 15 minutes.

turkey chili cheese grits

Turkey Chili over Cheese Grits

After several weeks on the vegetarian/vegan train, let’s get back to more traditional comfort food: turkey chili over cheese grits.

turkey chili cheese grits

Let me paint you a picture of a typical Winter Saturday in the Peascoe house. Wake up and play before a super easy breakfast of – I don’t know, say – Saturday brunch surprise. An outing to whatever activity we have planned to get us through lunchtime. We get home, eat some lunch and get Anna Ruth into her room for room time. If we’re lucky, a Carolina basketball game will be on. If not, Andy either starts doing work for grad school or a little yard work, and I start on whatever I’m making that day. AR finishes room time, Andy’s done with work, dinner is going and we just have the rest of the day to do whatever we want. It sounds so simple – and it is – but after such a hectic holiday season it is really the best thing ever.

I’ve always been really into cooking and freezing, but being pregnant that goes into overdrive. The more I can make and freeze now, the less I have to worry about when I’m nearing my due date or once the baby is here. Lately I’ve been making a lot of this turkey chili. This isn’t your typical chili with beans, so your idea of chili needs to shift a little here.

turkey chili cheese grits

My mom and I started making this recipe when I was just out of college and living with my parents before Andy and I got married. Given that there are no beans, and given our skinny, early-20-something-bodies, Andy and I would feel like we just needed something else with the meal. We tried cornbread, which was eh/okayish, but not quite IT. That’s when I came across some sort of slow cooked meat dish served over polenta, and my mind immediately went to turkey chili over grits. After that first time we were hooked, and life had so much more meaning. <– yes, that sounds a bit dramatic, but try it and tell me otherwise.  My sister recently served this to a large group of her in-laws, and said she could just tell it blew some minds.

turkey chili cheese grits

The chili itself here is really quite simple. We brown the ground turkey with the aromatics, add the final ingredients and let it cook for as little or as long as you want. I love starting this in the afternoon, and just letting it go for an hour on low so the whole house smells like comfort food. I generally double or triple the recipe, so I have plenty to freeze for later.

The other star of this show is the cheese grits. When it comes to cheese grits, the naughtier the better. I don’t have an exact recipe, but I always use stone ground grits, and cook them in chicken broth. Once they’re done I add an assortment of shredded cheese, cream cheese and heavy cream (really just whatever I have on hand). If we’re making this for a group, I don’t hold back on the indulgent additions because more cheese is always better. However, if it’s just for a family meal I regulate myself to keep the calorie count in check. The gorgeous thing here is that the turkey chili has so few calories, that it’s okay in my book to have the grits a little more indulgent.

turkey chili cheese grits

Top with other traditional chili toppings, or don’t (we don’t) – once you have this version of turkey chili over cheese grits you’ll have a new ideal for what chili night looks like in your house.

Turkey Chili over Cheese Grits

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large shallot – diced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
2-3 tbsp minced garlic (I use jarred garlic)
1 lb ground turkey
2 (16 oz) can stewed tomatoes*
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies – mild or hot*
For the grits: stone ground grits, chicken broth, shredded cheese/cream cheese/heavy cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add the first six ingredients to a large pot, and cook over medium-high heat until the turkey is done.
  2. Add the tomatoes and chilies, and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook over low heat for at least 10 minutes and up to an hour.
  3. Cook the desired amount of grits in the appropriate amount of chicken broth according to package directions. Once done stir in whatever combination of shredded cheese, cream cheese and heavy cream desired.
  4. Serve the turkey chili over the cheese grits and enjoy!

*If you’re going to eat it without letting it simmer on the stove for a while, drain the tomato juice from one of the cans. If you’re going to let it simmer on the stove, include all of the juices.

**Hot green chilies make this really really hot. Andy and I love spicy food, but it’s even a little hot for us. Since I generally double this recipe, I use one can of each.

madras lentil enchiladas

Madras Lentil Enchiladas

Okay okay okay. After today I will lay off the lentils for a while. However, given my love for the easiest, healthiest, veganist crock pot madras lentils I brought to you last week, it would be wrong of me not to share our other favorite way of enjoying them: madras lentil enchiladas.

madras lentil enchiladas

At this point, I shouldn’t have to list out why I love these because look at that cheese, but I will..

  1. Vegetarian game going strong
  2. Lentils are packed with protein
  3. Make ahead
  4. Makes a lot
  5. Freezer friendly

madras lentil enchiladas

These can be made with fresh or frozen and thawed madras lentils, or the dish can be assembled, frozen and then cooked for a great freezer meal. We usually serve this with a side salad or just fresh avocado.

madras lentil enchiladas

Madras Lentil Enchiladas

Ingredients:

½ recipe madras lentils (approximately) – recipe here
10 fajita size flour tortillas
1 can enchilada sauce
1.5 cups shredded Mexican or cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce (just enough to cover the bottom).
  2. Place a single tortilla on your work surface, top with a large spoonful of the lentils and a heaping tablespoon of cheese.
  3. Roll the tortilla and place into the baking dish, seam side down.
  4. Repeat this process with the remaining tortillas.
  5. Once all of the tortillas are in the baking dish (it will be a tight fit), pour enchilada sauce over the dish so that every tortilla is covered (depending on the size enchilada sauce you buy, you won’t use it all).
  6. Top with remaining cheese.
  7. Cover and heat at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  8. If you want a slightly drier enchilada, remove the foil and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes.
  9. Enjoy!

* If you are using previously frozen lentils, thaw completely before loading tortillas.

** If you want to make this dish to freeze, follow steps 1-6, then cover tightly and store in a sealable freezer bag. Pull the dish out 24 hours prior to cooking and let thaw in the refrigerator. Then cook until heated through (may take longer than 30 minutes).

madras lentil naanwiches

Madras Lentil Naanwiches

If Winter Vegan Goddess Bowls weren’t enough to get your crock pot out for my exceptionally easy/vegan madras lentils, then hopefully you’ll be convinced with either of the recipes I’m giving you this week. That’s right, I’ll be coming back in a few days with another recipe, so you don’t have to wait an entire week for the goods! Meet our new faves: madras lentil naanwiches and madras lentil enchiladas.

madras lentil naanwiches

Both of these recipes are perfect for using either lentils fresh out of the crock pot, or that you’ve frozen for later use. While still vegetarian, we’re dropping the vegan label because cheese.

I honestly can’t decide which of these dishes is my favorite, so let’s start with the madras lentil naanwiches.

madras lentil naanwich

First off, isn’t it so fun to say “naanwich”? So clever, but I unfortunately cannot take credit for the play on words. However, I can take credit for filling it with yummy lentils, peppery arugula and creamy avocado. <– that’s it. Naan, lentils, arugula, avocado. Your naanwich is done in less than five minutes.

madras lentil naanwich

As I mentioned last week, I’m trying to cut back on the cheese after having way way too much of it over the holidays, but it would be wrong of me to not comment that heating the naan with provolone before filling it takes these naanwiches to a new level. #justsaying

These madras lentil naanwiches are perfect for meatless Monday (is anyone still doing that?), or a work from home day. I plan on having the ingredients on hand while I’m on maternity leave because they’re just so quick to make that it can even be done while taking care of a newborn.

Madras Lentil Naanwiches

Ingredients:

Naan bread
Olive oil/salt
Madras Lentils (recipe here)
Arugula
Avocado slices
Provolone cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil onto one side of the naan bread, and heat in a skillet over medium heat. Top the un-olive oiled side with provolone if using.
  2. Once the bread is heated through, salt the olive oil side and put the un-olive oiled side up. On the un-olive oiled side, add about ½ cup warm lentils*, arugula and avocado slices.
  3. Enjoy!

*If you are using lentils you made and froze, simply thaw and reheat with a little bit of broth or water.

almond pesto

5-Ingredient Almond Pesto

Friends, I’m out of words this week. Getting into the groove of this new school year has been more exhausting than usual, and my brain is finally putting up the stops for a week.

Luckily this week’s recipe really doesn’t need much discussion. You love pesto. I love pesto. The refrigerated pesto at the store is far superior to the jar on the shelf, but it can be $$. Even homemade can be $$ because do you even know how expensive a little jar of pine nuts is? Enter our homeboy, almond.

almond pesto

We make this pesto with basil straight from our garden, but you can buy the basil fresh from the store. If you’re buying the basil I would possibly half or quarter the recipe because my goal here is not for you to spend $15 on herbs alone. We just happen to have a bunch of (ahem, 12) basil plants, so we have plenty of basil throughout the summer and early fall to make this recipe 4-5 times, as well as just have basil when we need it randomly.

almond pesto

I can’t actually believe I’m about to type this because I have a black thumb when it comes to gardening, but do you know how easy it is to grow basil? SO easy. We generally buy 1-2 plants at the beginning of summer, then get more plants from that. You seasoned gardeners probably know this, but basil is a plant that you can put a stalk in water and it will grow new roots. Plant the new rooted stalk, give it a little love, then wham bam you’ve got a new basil plant. We just do that over and over until we have enough or just run out of space (always the second).

almond pesto

A few notes before diving right into the recipe:

  1. As written, this is very basily. Andy and I prefer it this way, but just add a little less if too much herbiness overwhelms you.
  2. Don’t get super caught up in measurements here. Pesto is pretty forgiving, so just tweak it until you come up with the proportions that are right for you.
  3. Olive oil goes a long way towards the thickness or sauciness of the pesto. If you want a thicker pesto, use less. We like to use a full cup because we generally use it with pasta, and the extra olive oil helps the sauce stick to the noodles.
  4. This makes a lot of pesto, so I generally use half and freeze half for later.

Ingredients:

4 c basil leaves
¾ c almonds
½-3/4 c grated parmesan
1 tsp salt
¾-1 c olive oil

Directions:

  1. Place basil leaves, almonds, parmesan and salt into a food processor.
  2. Pulse a few times to get things going.
  3. Turn the food processor on and slowly add the olive oil through the food chute. Start with ¾ cup, and check for the consistency you want. If you want it “saucier,” add the remaining ¼ cup.
  4. Enjoy!
tomato coconut lime soup

Tomato Coconut Lime Soup

Happy Fall, y’all! It’s official. We made it past Labor Day, so it is perfectly acceptable to take on the Fall mentality: pumpkin spice everything, football, football snacks (<–one of my earliest posts, yet still one of the top viewed recipes – make it, you won’t be sorry), mums, Fall décor and soup…oh soup, how I’ve missed you. This tomato coconut lime soup is our perfect transition into Fall with its bright flavors and feel good vibes. The fact that it’s soup nods to the cooler weather coming, but it’s also light enough that you don’t feel like you’re jumping into the deep end of heavy, cold-weather, stick to your ribs kind of foods.

tomato coconut lime soup

(Sorry for the crummy picture – I will figure out how to float avocado on top of soup and update ASAP once I get it right.)

Let me start by saying I am generally – like 99% of the time – NOT a coconut girl. Sure I like caramel delights, but otherwise flaky coconut is just not something I enjoy. However, over the years of becoming a spicy curry lover (4lyfe) I have found that I really do like the flavor of coconut milk in soup/brothy dishes. If you’re worried about this being overly coconutty, don’t – even Andy agrees it’s not overpowering in this soup. What we have here is just a hint of coconut sweetness to balance out the zesty lime zing and acidic tomatoyness of the soup.

My inspiration for this soup came from my office. I’ve mentioned before how we have an awesome cafeteria, and tomato coconut soup is usually on the menu at least once a week. I got to thinking that it’s basically just a fancied up tomato soup, and couldn’t be hard to copycat. Lucky for us – dear reader friends – I was right, and now we can all enjoy this fancy tomato coconut lime soup anytime we want.

Pic of luscious coconut milk pour in 3, 2…

tomato coconut lime soup

In my true fashion, let me list out why I love making this soup…

  1. It comes together in less than 10 minutes (hiiiiii, 5 ingredients!!).
  2. It makes enough for a dinner and a couple lunches.
  3. It freezes well.
  4. It’s easily doubled or tripled for plenty of freezer meals.
  5. You can customize it to your liking with a variety of (highly recommended) toppings.

Seriously, drop what you’re doing right now and go make this soup. Serve with crusty cheese bread for dipping and dinner is on the table in 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

23.2 oz can condensed tomato soup
(2) 14-15 oz cans diced tomatoes*
32 oz chicken broth (or vegetable broth to make this vegan)
1 can coconut milk
3 tbsp lime juice
Optional toppings: avocado, shredded cheddar, tortilla chips, sour cream, cilantro

Directions:

  1. In a large pot combine condensed soup, diced tomatoes (with liquid) and chicken broth over medium heat. Make sure to stir well so that the condensed soup really incorporates with the tomatoes and broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Once at a simmer add the lime juice and coconut milk**.
  3. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes: we prefer ours with fresh avocado and a little cheese, so while optional I would highly recommend this.

* If you want more tomato chunks, just add another can or two, but drain the juices.

** If you want a smoother soup, use an immersion blender to get the consistency you want.

oven smoked pulled pork

Oven Smoked Pulled Pork

Short post for you guys today. I’m looking at recent posts and realize this is numero FOUR in a row that is pork. Who am I? I mean, we’re *chicken* people. I guess this blog is an ongoing manuscript of what we really are eating at any given time, so I guess this is just me being true to myself? I promise there won’t be any pork in sight next week, but this week we’re deep diving into oven smoked pulled pork.

oven smoked pulled pork

Remember when we did pulled pork in March? That was Andy’s game – this easy peasy oven version is my game. This was (you guessed it) a meal from our recent beach week. My sister got the recipe from her bil, who got it from a magazine. You guyzzzzzzz, the spice blend with the smoky flavor was everything. We did tacos, but you can do any number of things with the meat.

oven smoked pulled pork

As with anything delicious I eat, I came home wanting to make it as soon as possible. Enter the easy, friends-over-for-dinner Saturday night. I tweaked the spice blend and added more liquid to the cooking process, but the method is the same: spice rub, brown the meat, add liquid, “smoke” in the oven, shred.

oven smoked pulled pork

Like I said – we made tacos with our oven smoked pulled pork, but we’ve also used it for anything Mexican. Think nachos, quesadillas, burrito bowls, salads and…wait for it…breakfast burritos <– y’all, for real real, change your life good. As per my usual, this recipe makes a ton, which is great for feeding a crowd, multiple weeknight meals or freezing for several meals later on. Now go. Be the oven smoked pulled pork master we all know you are.

oven smoked pulled pork

Ingredients:

5-7 lb pork shoulder
Spice Rub:
–     2 tsp EACH: salt, dried oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, ground chipotle chile (or regular chili powder)
–     1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
–     1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp corn or canola oil
1 yellow onion – chopped
4 cloves garlic – minced
1.5 (12 oz ) beers (preferably Mexican)
1.5 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cut the pork shoulder (or butt) into fist-size chunks.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the salt, oregano, coriander, onion powder, garlic powder, chile, pepper and cinnamon. Rub onto the pork pieces, and let sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Place the oven rack in the lower-middle part of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees.
  4. In a large dutch oven heat the oil on medium-high. Working in batches, add the pork and brown on all sides. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
  5. Once all of the pork is browned and out of the pan, add the onion, garlic, beer and liquid smoke. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a simmer. Return the pork to the dutch oven, cover with the lid then place in the oven. Cook for 2.5 hours, or until it is easily shredded with a fork.
  6. Remove the pork pieces from the liquid, shred and use however you like.

Notes: at the end we also like to strain out the onions, as they serve as a great topping for the pork, as well.

sausage lasagna roll-ups

Sausage Lasagna Roll-Ups

Sausage Lasagna Roll-Ups, guys. Sausage. Lasagna. Roll-Ups.

sausage lasagna roll-ups

Lasagna is the perfect homemade comfort food, but make it in a roll-up version and it’s just cute as a dang button.

sausage lasagna roll-ups

I know what you’re probably thinking….

Wait. Wait. Waaaait. I thought I was reading Miss Foodie Two Shoes. Where is my quick, summer-friendly, spend your evenings at the pool meal?

These sausage lasagna roll-ups are actually two of those three things. Yes, you need a few minutes to put these roll-ups together, but 1) they can be made over the course of a day or two to split up the time, and 2) these are perfect for dinner on nights spent at the pool (though not necessarily for nights that you actually pack up and eat your dinner at the pool, if you know what I mean) because leftovers for days.

sausage lasagna roll-ups

If you’ve been reading for a while, you will know I have a few requirements that generally need to be met when I commit to making a dish that takes longer than 2 seconds:

  • Can I freeze it?
  • Does it make a lot?
  • Does it work well for leftovers?
  • Can I prep it ahead of time and cook later?
  • Is it easy to double?
  • Would it be good to feed a crowd (think potluck or casual night with friends over)?
  • Would it be good to take to friends with new babies?

I don’t necessarily require that alllll of these conditions be met, but the first three and sort-of the fourth are of utmost importance (working mom probs). Lucky for us this dish passes with flying colors.

sausage lasagna roll-ups

I have two friends with new babies (see last week’s post re: super mom that hosted Christmas in July with a three week old), and thought this would be perfect for them. A dish like this gives a new mom options. She can either cook it for dinner right away, or she can put it in the freezer and save for a few weeks down the road when the new baby meals have stopped coming.

sausage lasagna roll-ups

These sausage lasagna roll-ups are loaded with (duh) sausage, peppers, onions, ricotta and basil, and are so good that you’ll want to assemble and stock your freezer for the {eventual} fall and winter that will be here soon enough. Hey! Look at it as a mental break from the scorching heat dome that is our current situation. (And – happy side note – we’re probably less than two months away from the return of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, so just let that sink in for a minute.) Make it for your family, or make it for a friend. Either way you have a win/win situation on your hands. Enjoy!

sausage lasagna roll-ups

P.S. Next week is beach week for the Peascoe/Smoak/Avent family, so there’s a good chance I will be totally unplugged and will probably have no recipe ready for you. That’s not definite, but just a heads up in case you get through next Wednesday and are stalking my FB page to see if I’ve posted anything because I just might not. Our meals at the beach are always totally on point, tho, so I’m sure I’ll come back with plenty of yumminess to share!

Ingredients:

15 lasagna noodles (the kind you have to boil first)
1 lb Italian sausage (I use mild for this)
1 small yellow onion – diced
1 green bell pepper – diced
¼ tsp oregano
1 ¼ cups ricotta cheese
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella (divided)
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 egg – beaten
10 basil leaves – chopped
2 cups marinara sauce

Directions:

  1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water then lay flat on wax or parchment paper to keep from sticking together.
  2. Cook the sausage in a skillet over medium heat until done. Remove to a paper towel lined bowl and set aside. Drain all but one tablespoon of the sausage grease.
  3. To the same skillet add the onion, bell pepper and oregano and sauté until soft – about 5-7 minutes.
  4. In a bowl, combine ricotta, ½ cup mozzarella, ½ cup parmesan, the beaten egg and basil, and stir to combine.
  5. Assembly:
    1. Spray a 9×13 baking dish and add ½ cup marinara to the bottom. Spread so there is a thin layer of sauce covering the bottom.
    2. Spread 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture onto each noodle, then top with one spoonful of sausage and one spoonful of the onion/pepper mixture.
    3. Gently roll the lasagna, making sure to hold in the ingredients as much as possible.
    4. Place each roll seam side down into the baking dish (you’ll have to kind of squish the last row in).
    5. Once all rolls are made, cover with the remaining 1 ½ cups marinara sauce and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
  6. If baking immediately: heat oven to 350 degrees. Cover loosely with foil, and bake for 45 minutes, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes.
  7. If freezing: cover tightly with foil then wrap in plastic wrap and place into a plastic freezer bag large enough to fit your dish. When ready to cook, heat oven to 400 degrees, remove plastic wrap and place directly in the oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes, or until heated through. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of cook time.

Note: you can cook the sausage and pepper/onion mixture the day before, then just make the ricotta mixture while the noodles cook and assemble once they’re done.

Note 2: if you don’t like peppers and/or onions you can leave them out! This would also be delicious with some chopped mushrooms thrown into the veggie mix IMO.

Note 3: Andy and I both agree that mild sausage is best here. As a general rule of thumb we prefer spicy to not, so for us to say that you might want to trust us 😉

freezer breakfast burritos

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

Raise your hand if you love breakfast! Raise your hand if you find yourself with no time to make breakfast on busy weekday mornings! Keep that hand up if you are reallllly not into the whole “overnight oats” movement…well haaay there savory, hot breakfast loving friends!

Andy and I are major lovers of breakfast. More specifically –> savory breakfast. Sure we’ll make waffles or French toast every now and then, but given the choice we’d take a biscuit sandwich over just about anything else ever. While we rarely eat biscuits (why oh why do they have to be loaded with all the fat and calories?!?!?), we love a good savory hash. Saturday morning at the Peascoe house is MADE for hash.

Scrambled eggs + diced potatoes, onions, peppers + black beans + spicy sausage + a liiittle cheese = perfect way to start a Saturday.

freezer breakfast burritosfreezer breakfast burritos

While we don’t have time to make the “perfect way to start a Saturday” hash on busy weekday mornings, we can take the time to pull out one of our pre-made breakfast burritos filled with the exact same mixture and eat it on the go because that’s just how we roll.

freezer breakfast burritos

Y’all these breakfast burritos are so super simple and delicious. The best part is that once made, you have at least 12 days of breakfast ready to go when you need it. The second best part about these breakfast burritos is that they’re completely customizable. Want it vegetarian? Leave out the sausage. Want greens? Wilt some spinach into the eggs as you scramble them. Want to use a whole wheat tortilla? Go for it. Not a fan of veggies in the morning? Leave them out. You do you, my friend.

freezer breakfast burritos

The third best part about these breakfast burritos is that they’re GREAT to take to friends with new babies. I often have people ask me for ideas on what to take new parents, and these have moved to the top of that list. Dinner is always helpful and VERY appreciated, but I remember having so much dinner stuff that we ran out of fridge space. However, one thing that still sticks out and was extremely helpful was when someone would also bring muffins or some other breakfast food that could be eaten with one hand. There were so many days in those first few weeks after Andy went back to work where I would look at the clock and realize it was 2 p.m. and I hadn’t had a single bite of food all day. Taking these to a new mom means she has 12 hearty breakfasts that she can heat (and reheat and reheat) and eat with one hand while holding her newborn that refuses to be put down <– not exaggerating.

freezer breakfast burritos

I have to be honest, though, I very rarely actually have them for my breakfast. Here’s the thing. My office has a really reallllly good cafeteria. We have visitors from around the world that spend $$$$ to hang out with us, so they, therefore, expect great food to be part of that experience. Working there means I also get to eat great food…mmmmmm. With that, I prefer to save my calories and eat 1-2 servings of fruit in the morning and then have a heartier lunch. However, while I generally don’t eat heavy breakfasts on weekdays, Andy still does. Bud is 6’5” and stands up to teach all day, so it’s understandable he needs a little more fuel. Most mornings he’ll take time to make a power packed smoothie, but sometimes he just wants the convenience and warmth that comes with popping a frozen burrito in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Basically, I make these all for him and get major points because I know he has a happy belly everyday on the way to work. Happy belly = happy husband = happy wife = happy life. It’s the little things, y’all 🙂

freezer breakfast burritos

Wow – I realize this post has been all over the place. There was just so much to share about these awesome, simple, flavorful breakfast burritos that I couldn’t NOT share one bit of it with you because you’re like me and want to know alllll the deets and that’s why we get along so well. I’ll finally get to the recipe, so you too can enjoy the happiness that comes with the knowledge that you have a freezer full of delicious breakfast just waiting for you.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium potatoes (russet or Yukon gold work best) – small dice
1 red bell pepper – small dice
1 medium yellow onion – diced
1 (15 oz) can black beans – drained and rinsed
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper
1 lb sausage
18 eggs
12-14 burrito size flour tortillas*
Sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and cook until they start to soften (about 5 minutes). Add the bell pepper, onion, spices, salt and pepper (to taste), and cook until the potatoes are done. Stir in the black beans, then move the mixture to a bowl to cool.
  2. Wipe out the skillet and return it to the heat. Cook the sausage, then move to another bowl to cool. Drain the fat, leaving 1 tsp behind.
  3. Scramble the eggs, then cook over medium-low heat until done. Transfer to another bowl to cool.
  4. Assembly: lay one tortilla on a piece of plastic wrap. Add a heaping 1/3 cup eggs, 1/2 cup vegetable mixture, 1/4 cup sausage and 2 tbsp cheese. Roll one side over the filling, then fold in the two ends and finish rolling the burrito. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling. Once assembled, place into a freezer bag and freeze up to three months.
  5. To heat: remove from the freezer and take off plastic wrap. Wrap in a paper towel and microwave on high for 1.5-2.5 minutes depending on your microwave.

*I don’t always get the same number of burritos out of this (weird, right?). It’s usually in the 12-14 range, and there is generally at least one that ends up being all veggies and eggs.

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